After nearly 24 hours of travelling we’re finally home again in Adelaide. I can’t tell you just how good it feels to smell the clean air and be surrounded by Aussies once again. I remember being concerned at how polluted the Sydney air was when we left Australia. That same polluted air has never smelled sweeter than it did when we disembarked this morning. The relaxation and relief of being home again is very tangible. We look forward to seeing you all soon.
Archive for July, 2006
Over the past few days the smog has been getting progressively worse in Shenzhen. This is most likely due to the fact that it hasn’t rained for about a week. Some of the days have been hot and quite dry, almost reminiscent of a summer day in Sydney. This makes the smogginess seem worse.
Today (Sunday) Gail & I were both feeling a little choked up, which was a little unusual. We went out to the Luo Hu shopping centre in the morning (”DVD?, copy watch?, you buy handbag?, hey missy?, golf club?, lookie lookie?, I give you best price”) and went to the King Elephant restaurant on the 5th floor for an early Dim Sum lunch. Whilst waiting we were just overcome by the total smokiness of the place as smoking is permitted in restaurants here. People on the 3 tables closest to us were all frequently smoking. Gail felt the need to step outside for a little while. In the end as soon as our food was served we asked for it to be “da bao”, i.e. take away. We both felt light-headed, queasy and like triple-smoked bacon!
On our way home we made up the following parody of “A Foggy Day in London town”, as sung by Frank Sinatra, and with apologies to George and Ira Gershwin.
A Smoggy Day in Shenzhen Town
A smoggy day, in Shenzhen town,
It had me low, it had me down.
I viewed the morning, with much alarm,
The Shenzhen Museum, never had any charm.
How long I wondered, could this smog last,
But the age of blue skies, it was past.
And suddenly, I couldn’t see you there,
And in smoggy Shenzhen town, the sun - it wasn’t anywhere.
On Saturday we decided to get out of the house and go for a walk at Lian Hua Shan park, since it was accessible by Metro. It’s located approximately half-way along the breadth of Shenzhen and a little north. There are parklands for flying kites or playing badmington, there’s a lake and the area has various lychee trees scattered around in fields. The main reason for the park being there is because there’s a mountain to climb up; so off we went.
As we started to walk up the path the relief that the greenery brought to a concrete jungle was palpable. To be in amongst the vegetation was just wonderful. Along the way we came across this little Engrish example encouraging people not to light the place up.
At the very top is a 20-foot high statue of Deng Xiaoping, who was the guy that officially “opened up” Shenzhen in 1979 and he is shown looking out over the city from this mountain top, and probably striding in a very meaningful and purposeful way. He led a lot of the reforms in China before passing away in 1999. We had a slightly different perspective…
From up here the view of the city is actually quite good. Unfortunately I didn’t allow enough overlap in my panorama shots so there’re a few bits missing, but you get the idea. The building with the blue wavy roof and red and yellow pillars is the central Shenzhen government building. The Diwang building is off in the distance to the left. There was a lovely cool breeze blowing, evaporating the perspiration off our backs and faces.
For some unknown reason we became instant celebrities upon our arrival at the top. We had several groups of people wanting to have their picture taken with us. I can only think that some of these people were from out of Shenzhen and not so used to seeing foreigners. Most insisted on the traditional American peace sign.
As we approached the bottom we came across this…
We were not entirely sure what it is an advertisment for however, the wooden desks and chairs seemed to indicate that Sunday classes were on the menu. As we left, the people in orange shirts with megaphones were trying to round up a few more recruits.
The above item is not, as it may appear to the uninitiated, a bunch of lychees. No. They are, in fact, a bunch of fruit called longan fruit, otherwise known as Dragon’s Eye. This is very similar to the lychee but differs in having a slightly later season for harvest, a brown skin (instead of pinky-red), smaller size (1-2cm diameter) and a more spherical shape.
To eat them the skin is simply sliced and peeled away. The centre squishy pearly white flesh is eaten and the seed discarded. The best way to describe the flavour is as being similar to the lychee but less familiar to a western palate. There’s less of the apple/pear overtones that characterise a lychee.